By Mike Rowbottom

Hans van_Alphen_of_BelgiumOctober 27 - Hans van Alphen of Belgium and Russia's Tatyana Chernova were the overall winners of the 2012 International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Combined Events Challenge and will each receive a prize of $30,000 (£19,000/€23,000).

Van Alphen (pictured top), who finished fourth at the London 2012 Olympics, earned victories in both Götzis and Talence, finishing with a total of 25,259 points.

The 30-year-old, who was sixth in the Challenge in 2011, improved the Belgian national record to 8,519 points in Götzis.

Germany's Pascal Behrenbruch, the 2012 European champion, took second place with 25,117 points, ahead of Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine, the European Championships silver medallist, who was third with 24,822.

Chernova, who won Olympic bronze in London, also won the series title in 2010 and 2011, and produced another consistent season which was capped by her 6,774-point performance to finish second in Götzis.

The 24-year-old tallied 19,717 points in the women's series.

Tayana Chernova_of_RussiaOlympic bronze medallist Tatyana Chernova won the 2012 IAAF Combined Events Challenge with 19,717 points

Ukraine's Lyudmyla Yosypenko, who finished second at the European Championships and fourth at the 2012 Olympic Games before ending her season with a victory in Talence, was second overall with 19,520.

Antoinette Nana Djimou Ida of France, the European champion, was third, just ten points behind with 19,510.

Beginning with the African Combined Events Championships in Bambous, Mauritius in early April and concluding with the Decastar competition in Talence, France in mid-September, the 2012 Combined Events Challenge included 11 of the world's finest multi-events meetings.

2012 witnessed the 15th successive year of the Combined Events Challenge which in addition to the five individual permit meetings (Desenzano, Götzis, Kladno, Ratingen and Talence), this year also included the Olympic Games, European Championships, NACAC Combined Events Championships, the Oceania Combined Events Championships, African Combined Events Championships and the US Olympic Trials.

Antoinette Nana_Djimou_Ida_of_FranceFrance's Antoinette Nana Djimou Ida claimed third place overall in the 2012 International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Combined Events Challenge

The Challenge offers a total of $202,000 (£125,000/€157,000) in prize money paid by the IAAF which is distributed to both the top eight men and women as follows: first $30,000 (£19,000/€23,000), second $20,000 (£12,000/€16,000), third $15,000 (£9,000/€12,000), fourth $10,000 (£6,000/€8,000), fifth $8000 (£5,000/€6,000), sixth $7000 (£4,000/€5,000), seventh $6000 (£4,000/€5,000), eighth $5000 (£2,000/€2,000).

Athletes had to complete three competitions to be eligible to contend for the overall prize money, and in 2012 11 men and 14 women made the grade.

In total 217 athletes completed at least one decathlon or heptathlon in the Challenge series.

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